Motivation (or more accurately, lack-thereof) is one of the biggest problems affecting our lazy society. I would go to the gym, but it’s such an effort. I’ve eaten so well this week, I can take a break today. It’s too far away, I can’t be bothered. Sound familiar?
Here are my five ways to get or stay motivated:
1. Set Reasonable Goals: If you have never run a mile in your life, don’t just decide one day you want to run a marathon. Start small, and create little goals for yourself along the way. Even if you are working toward a bigger picture, it’ll help you stay super motivated if it involves smaller wins along the way. Setting reasonable goals also means SPECIFY SPECIFY SPECIFY! Don’t just say “this week, I’m going to be healthier.” Instead, say “this week I’m going to exercise 5 days for 30 minutes each.” Your brain likes variety, so allow yourself many ways of accomplishing the task. If you need help, or just a little encouragement, check this out:
*To set the “right” health-related goals, maybe have one session with a physio, dietician or a personal trainer to find out where you are weak and what your focus should be.
2. Prepare! Think ahead: Of course it’s easier to stay in bed than to go for that morning run you promised yourself you’d do. The best way to fight the morning groan is to set your alarm for a couple minutes earlier than you need. That way if you have an inner argument you haven’t wasted the time you could have spent accomplishing your goals. Also get to bed at a reasonable hour and set your clothes and other necessities out the night before. Make sure those running shoes are staring at you when you roll over in the morning.
Thinking ahead also applies to the way in which you RSVP. Don’t say yes to an event or Friday plans with friends if you foresee that the week will completely take it out of you. Anticipate how tired you will be before you commit. People aren’t offended if you say no from the start, and it’ll help you be more motivated and energetic for the next big activity.
3. Pump up the Jam: There are three times when you are likely to listen to music outside of home: In the car, on public transport and while you exercise. These are usually areas where you need a bit of a pump-up. Driving around running errands can be taxing, the bus ride to work can be a bit depressing on a dreary Monday, and exercise in the city or at the gym can be not-so-relaxing. One of my small hidden talents happens to be making mixes. I love a good mix, and I have since the Napster days when we first realized we could have the music we want and put in together in a compilation of our own creation. I believe that events, whether significant or not, require a good mix. I love listening to the radio every once in a while because it’s a great place to find good running songs. I find music helps me drown out the noises of the outside world and focus inward. Here are 5 of my all-time favorite exercise/pump-up songs (feel free to judge!):
-If We Ever Meet Again by Timbaland ft. Katy Perry (I know it’s random, but I love to put it toward the end of a running mix because it really gets me going all over again)
-Super Freak by Rick James
-Sleepyhead by Passion Pit (perfect first song to get you started)
-Take Over Control by Afrojack
-Don’t Feeling Like Dancing by Scissor Sisters
Don’t forget the general treasure chest that is the 90s. 90s music is the BEST for singing loud in the car or jamming out during a run. Another Night by The Real Mccoy is my all-time fave, but other great ones include: Rhythm is a Dancer, Mr. Vain, and of course the Jock Jams megamix.
Use music whenever you need it. Personally I need a super sweet dance mix if I’m going be motivated to clean the house. It’s the main reason I love to clean alone!
4. Phone a Friend: This one is pretty obvious, but having a friend along is one of the best ways to stay motivated. Whether it’s a new diet or a vigorous exercise class, having mates at your side makes everything easier and more fun.
I personally am someone who likes a balance between friends and independence. More often than not I go for goals by myself. But I have many friends who find it extremely difficult to exercise alone. It’s all about personal preference. Make it a routine if you can, on Tuesday I go to Body Attack with Meg, on Sunday I go for a long run by myself. Routines keep you in the right head space, and you are more likely to accomplish your goals if you feel like it’s mandatory (even when self-inflicted).
5. Get the Gear: Matt and I are both avid writers and sometimes we lose inspiration. I find that buying myself a pretty new journal is often a good place to start. It gets me in the mood to write. A few of my friends have recently started exercising more, and once they invested in some quality clothing and equipment, they found it easier to stay motivated (one of them didn’t even previously own a sports bra, despite being a decent athlete). Exercise clothing is my weakness. Matt can’t understand why I need 5 pairs of spandex (2 for yoga, 1 for running, 2 for both). But when you have a rigorous fitness routine (and you’re a slave to the sun when it comes to laundry), it ends up making sense. I always try to get in on the sales at lululemon when they happen. It’s best to stock up whenever you can. I love having the right gear, I feel it legitimizes my athletic status.
Do your research, and make sure you aren’t wasting money on things you don’t need. Also be sure that your new activity is one you’ll be into for a good long while (aka don’t invest in a yoga or pilates mat for one class only).
There you have it, my 5 ways to get and stay motivated. When I come up with ideas for 5 ways, I do my best to portray changes people can easily make. It’s all about forming good habits and making small adjustments. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day!